Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Supreme Court Knocks Down State Protectionist Laws On Online Wine Ordering

from the drink-up! dept

If you're living in New York, Michigan or any other state with laws on the books preventing you from ordering wine online, it's time to log on and order a bottle of your favorite wine, as the Supreme Court has shot down those protectionist laws. It's about time. This case has been going on forever. Other, similar cases include the blocking of online ordering of contact lenses and other products -- but it seems like those laws should also be struck down following this ruling. Update: Excellent clarifications in the comments, pointing out that this ruling still allows states to ban all shipments of wine by mail. The only thing the ruling bans is if a state allows shipments within the state, but not from outside the state.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    jeff, May 16th, 2005 @ 5:12pm

    No Subject Given

    Actually, the ruling doesn't mean anything. Michigan has already indicated that they will simply ban ALL wine mailing including intrastate.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Tom, May 16th, 2005 @ 5:57pm

    Direct Wine Shipments

    The case is not so simple. Wineries everywhere cannot now start shipping. The ruling held only that it is unconstitutional for a state to allow it's own wineries to ship to its residents while disallowing out of state wineries to ship to their residents.

    States must now decide if they will allow all wine shipments or none at all. In other words, the issue goes back to the state legislators. This is bad news if you are a wine lover.

    The Wholesalers, led by the Wine & Spirt Wholesalers Association, have spent millions of dollars tryng to convince legislators that buyng wine online will lead to a nation of drunk minors. This ridiculous argument alone is probably not enough to convince legislators to enact anti direct shipping legislation. However the hundreds of campaign contributions given out by the wholesalers may be.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    jeff, May 17th, 2005 @ 3:54pm

    No Subject Given

    I agree. Most teenagers do not want to drink at bars and keg parties; they would rather order a Chateau de Paraza 2002 from

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    Ed, May 18th, 2005 @ 3:52am

    Re: No Subject Given

    Current mail-order wine sales may not attract many teenagers buying bottles of Opus One, but if all the legal roadblocks are removed, some less-than-scrupulous entrepreneur might start up a business with lax age verification procedures that ships Mad Dog and Thunderbird.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2005 @ 6:48am

    Re: No Subject Given

    I do not know if Michigan has a local wine industry, but if they do not, then a law banning all direct wine deliveries would probably still be held unconstitutional. Just because a la is facially neutral doesn't mean it will pass muster.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Elric, Jun 13th, 2006 @ 8:56pm

    Re: Re: No Subject Given

    Age verification is made by UPS at delivery so it doesn't really matter if age is verified online since the driver isn't going to deliver it to you if you are under age.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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